British actor and comedian Tom Holland first found fame playing Danny Butterman in the cult UK sitcom The Office. Since then he has starred in some of the biggest films of our time, including Spiderman: Homecoming, The Lion King and the upcoming Isla and Alex. We spoke to him about Robert Pattinson, playing his father onscreen, and whether or not we’ll ever see Danny again.
How Is The Adjustment Going?
It’s going really well actually. We shot the last scene a couple of days ago; it was great, really emotional. [SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for Spiderman: Homecoming. Read at your own risk.] In the scene, Robert and I are finally seeing eye to eye. We’ve had this mutual respect for a while now, but we’ve never really clicked as father and son. Now that we’re finally getting to the point where we can communicate, it’s great. It was a little jarring at first when Spiderman [Tom’s character] brought the [Tony] Stark character [Robert’s character] into the equation. But I think it all made sense in the end, and both of us ended up being very grateful that it did.
That Last Scene…
We were just talking about this another day. You see how the scene builds, and then it ends, and you’re like, “what just happened?” Then you look at the screen, and it all makes sense. To cut a long story short, we’re both still in the same room, sort of staring at each other. We had these funny, awkward one-liners just sitting there in the room, and then the director said, “Action!” and we hugged, and it was very emotional. It was the first time we’d ever really acted together, and it was really nice to see how well it all came together.
…And The Aftermath
You know what’s great? Since we wrapped the movie, we’ve both sort of had time to reflect. I went out and did some stand up comedy, and I’ve been meaning to send him a box of good luck charms. I’m sure he’d appreciate that. We also went for a bike ride together, and it was great to see this little boy who’s been so inspired by his big brother. So many great things have happened since the last scene we shot, and I’m just really happy to have been a part of it.
I had no idea when I found out I’d be playing Danny Butterman on The Office that it would blow up the way it did. Even now, it’s pretty astounding how big a hit that show was. It came out at the right time, in the right place, and I think it went on to have a massive impact in the UK as well as the United States. It helped launch my career, and it’s still cited as one of the major precursors to reality TV in the United States. So many people have told me how much they loved that character, and how they always thought of me when they saw him on TV. It means a lot.
I have to admit that the cast and crew of Spiderman really did a great job building this world, this amazing world that they created. It was such a joy to be a part of something that felt so real, that felt so alive. It’s funny, when I signed on for the part I didn’t really expect to get emotionally involved, but I did. It was a challenging role, the first that I’d really tackled in a movie, and it felt great to finally get it right. My knees are still a little weak from all that running. So many people have told me how much they enjoyed my performance, and how much it helped them feel like they were there, in the suit, experiencing it all with Robert Pattinson. It was such an honour to be able to play Arthur’s father onscreen, and to help bring this amazing character back to life.
The Lion King
I was very fortunate to get to play Mufasa in The Lion King. It was such an incredible experience, and I still have to pinch myself that I got to be a part of something so majestic. I’m not exactly sure what it is about that movie, but it just leaves an incredible impression on people. My parents saw it, and couldn’t stop talking about it. It’s funny, this film has had a similar impact on me. Whenever I walk down the street, or look at a baby calf, I’ll start bawling like a baby. Watching that movie is still one of the most emotional experiences I’ve ever had. It’s incredible to think that I was able to bring some of that magic into my own kids’ lives. They still remember the characters’ names, and they ask questions about the movie all the time. It’s one of the best movie experiences I can remember.
Island Adventure was an incredible experience. To get to play Captain Jack Sparrow, on a movie set in the Bahamas with Johnny Depp was something I’ll never forget. It was like a dream come true. I love that movie, and I always say that playing Captain Jack was one of the best things that ever happened to me. This character was such an iconic part of Disney’s golden age, and to get to play such a pivotal role in bringing him to life was such an honour. It’s funny, when you’re in the middle of filming, you don’t really think about all the accolades that will come your way once the movie is out. But after, when you’re looking back at all the positive responses, it all starts to sink in. Playing Captain Jack was one of the most significant moments of my career, and it’s still cited as one of the major influences to this day on my work. If you watch my movies, you’ll see that I draw a lot from my experience of playing Jack Sparrow.
Finally, I’d like to talk about Zootopia. To be able to work with Byron Howard, the original director of Zootopia, and the incredible team he’s assembled, was a real honour. It was such a collaborative effort, everyone pitched in to make the movie the best it could be. Of course, it would be great to work with the main characters from the trailer, but to get to play such a wide variety of animals was incredible. The biggest compliment I get is when people tell me that my animals seem real, that they seem like they could exist in real life. It’s funny, I hear that a lot as an actor, but to be able to bring it into reality, to actually be able to film an animal showing their true colors was incredible. It was a real privilege to work with such wonderful, creative people.
Being able to play these iconic characters, and to work on some of the biggest franchises of our time, has been a joy. I still get recognised on the street sometimes, and I love that my work makes an impression on people. It’s funny how much these characters mean to so many people, and how much they’ve helped me in my career. It certainly has not been a dull ride.